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Review: New Volkswagen Tiguan

Driven June 2017

Review: New Volkswagen Tiguan

You drove the VW Tiguan? Where?
From Bangalore to Chikmagalur.

One thing about the Tiguan has forever flummoxed me.
The price?

Oh, that too. Okay, two things.
What?

The price and the ground clearance. Isn’t it too low?
What? The price? You’d like it higher?

Yeah. Right. The ground clearance? 149mm? Remember? Isn’t it too low?
Oh. Yes. I asked VW the same thing. Apparently. It is 149mm. But not really 149mm.

Has all the coffee in Chikmaglur got to you?
Hear me out, please. VW says the Tiguan’s ground clearance has been measured under the new standards.

Which is?
The vehicle is loaded with 90 percent of fuel and four adults. So you could say, 149mm is at close to maximum load. If you measure it conventionally – unladen – the Tiguan stands 200mm off the ground.

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That’s not so bad then…
It isn’t. The approximately 270-km distance has fabulous roads, but there are points with monstrous speedbumps. If the Tiguan was only 149mm unladen, it’d have definitely scrapped on at least one of them.

How’s the Tiguan to drive?
Typically solid. The Tiguan rides extremely well. It stays impressively level on those rumblers that the rest of the traffic slows down for. More importantly, this Volkswagen remains planted over ruts even if you unsettle it at high speed.

In the sense?
Usually, even the dynamically decent cars that go well over rough roads do tend to get unsettled if you brake, swerve or do anything sudden. The Tiguan remains stable and sure-footed. Not only is this VW comfortable over rough patches. It can even cope with sudden braking and direction changes while negotiation these rough patches at high speed.

A good driver’s car, then?
It’s a solid driver’s car. But not a ‘driver’s’ car, if you get what I mean.

Well, it seems like at first…
It is solid. But the steering isn’t great. It’s accurate, but a tad light and artificial. The Tiguan is a good driver’s crossover. But not a great one. It corners decently, but when you quickly change lanes, the car does roll around a bit. You don’t expect Porsche levels of crossover dynamics in this Volkswagen, but it’s just half a notch away from being a great driver’s crossover.


How does the Tiguan compare to competition?
That depends on what you consider the Tiguan’s competition.

Alright, what does Volkswagen consider the Tiguan’s competition?
The BMW X1, Merc GLA, and while they won’t say it because it’s family, Audi’s Q3.

So does the Tiguan beat them?
In terms of price, definitely. They all begin at the Rs 33-35 lakh bracket. At this price, you won’t get the fully-equipped versions. A fully loaded Tiguan Highline is about Rs 32 lakh. Combine that with the fact that the Tiguan is bigger, can accommodate five, has more luggage space, has full-time all-wheel-drive in both variants is all a bonus. In fact, the only major benefit with the Highline has over the Rs 28 lakh (approx) Tiguan Comfortline is the self-sealing tyres.

Oh yes. What are these self-sealing tyres?
Volkswagen has equipped the Tiguan Highline’s 18 inchers with a sealing gel inside the tyres. The company claims that the tyres will continue running even with nails and other intrusions embedded in them. Unless the tyre has torn or is ripped apart, routine incursions like nails, pebbles, glass panes won’t need you repairing or changing a tyre.

How is the Tiguan compared to the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour?
Completely different. A lot of ‘experts’ have said that for the same price you can get an Endeavour (Rs 26.94 lakh) or Fortuner (Rs 28.17 lakh) and have more SUV for the money.

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Isn’t that right?
No. Because people who’d like the imposing, burly looks of the Toyota or Ford, will never consider the Tiguan. And people who’d consider a Tiguan, would never like the road dynamics of body-on-chassis trucks compared to the monocoque VW.

How much is the localisation?

Well, apart from the engine – which is built in Chakan – every other component is imported and put together.

Don’t you think the price is too high?
Well, don’t we all love a bargain. I do think that Volkswagen could have lopped a couple of lakh off the price by localising it even more and doing away with a sunroof. But I do appreciate one thing.

What?
Volkswagen didn’t go with a front-wheel-drive only, petrol, low-on-features, manual transmission version of the Tiguan merely to claim a low starting price. There are only two variants of this Volkswagen. And they both come very well-equipped. But Volkswagen could have made it really competitive if Rs 28.93 lakh and Rs 32.45 lakh were on-road rather than ex-showroom prices.

You seem to have liked the car, eh?
I did. The Tiguan doesn’t have the snob-value with the badge. And at a better price it could have been a great mid-point between the Hyundai Tucson (Rs 20 lakh) and Santa Fe (Rs 31.34 lakh). But the Tiguan is dynamically competent, spacious, very comfortable, has very good high speed manners, convenient in slow-moving traffic in the city, brakes well, steers well, rides well and can handle an office commute and a long-distance family holiday rather well.

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So nothing you hate?
Nothing. Only if they could have tried harder with the price.

Specs
Volkswagen Tiguan Highline - Rs 32.45 lakh (ex-Mumbai)
1968cc, 4-cyl turbodiesel, 141bhp, 340Nm, 7A AWD, Ground clearance: 149mm, Boot: 615 litres (min), 1655litres (max), Fuel capacity: 71 litres, Weight: 1720kg.



Sriram Narayanan

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